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Diary of a Silversmith

Diana's second visit to JA Campbell

Bronze figurines of Diana, Greek Goddess of Love. Just before Christmas 2015 my antique friend brought in another bronze figurine of Diana by a well known French sculptor. This one had lost her bow, as had the first one. For those who are not familiar with the piece, Diana is standing on one leg on a rock, shooting a bow up into the sky. The bow actually has no strings and is made in two parts which screw onto threads either side of her left hand. The bow although stylised is basically tapered from thick in the centre and thin at the ends. It is also slightly triangular in section. The fir... [More]

Summer Garden Produce

This may seem a strange title for a blog from a Silversmith workshop? By now if you have read my blogs before then you will not be suprised how my mind wanders from subject to subject and always finds a link with my work. It is at this time of year when the garden calls. It would be nice if it was a call just to sit and enjoy the summer weather - but we are in England! The weeds grow, the grass needs cutting, but if like me you enjoying growing your own produce then this is when things really start to happen. Picking the first tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse, runner bean plants at the to... [More]

Figurine Restoration

Several weeks ago a neighbour who is moving to Devon came across and asked if I knew where he could dispose of a pair of figurines. He had one in his hand. I recognised them as made from spelter and probably French from about 1890. They were a bit scruffy - for want of a better description. I suggested he tried the antique shop at the top of the road. He said he had not thought of that.  One of the figures was a woman with arm held aloft holding a hammer encircled with laurel leaves. That is it should have been but the arm was broken off. I offered to solder it back on for him in order t... [More]

How it all started

I caught the silver bug as a youngster. My Dad had served an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer working for the Bromley branch of the North Thames Gas Board. They were gas and coke producers and had to maintain their own machines and equipment. Dad rose up through the ranks to become shift superintendent at Becton Gas works. You would call him a general manager today. Dads interest in everything mechanical, chemical, historical, classical musical poetry infected me too (apart from the poetry) At a very young age I knew I was destined to make things for a living. I had taught myself to ca... [More]

Decanters!!!!

Christmas is here once again - well nearly - and yet again the most popular items in our range are Silver & Crystal Decanters.  We have a large selection to choose from and hopefully something to suit everyone's tastes. White wine, Red wine, Port, Spirits - all look so much better when served from an elegant decanter. Have a look on our website now as there is still time to order and have one delivered for Christmas. It can be for a present or simply for your own use to enhance your Christmas table. There is even one that holds two bottles of wine - the Magnum - if you are having ... [More]

Brass Figurine of Girl with Hoop

Life is never dull is it! Some months ago my pharmacist asked if I could repair a figurine for him. He said he would bring it into the shop for me to assess. Each time I went in to collect my repeat prescription he said he had forgotten to bring it in. This went on for many months. I jokingly said "don't wait until I have kicked the bucket because it will be too late then" The pills were not ready on Thursday, so I had to call back on Monday and on this occasion (low and behold) he had brought it in. It was in a bit of a sorry state with the large hoop the girl was supposed to be holding, b... [More]

A Silver Adorned Sword Stick

I never know what will come into the workshop next!! This weekend brought a very unusual repair. As well as manufacturing we offer a repair service for any of our own products and a more general service to anyone needing help with a silver item. On this occasion it was a silver adorned sword stick brought in by a gentleman. He requested that we try and return it to it's former glory as some parts were very badly dented. Another interesting fact was that although the feral on the stick had an English hallmark from 1900, the actual sword had been made in France. In order to make a decision on... [More]

Sterling Silver Flower Vase

On return from a recent European sales trip I decided to leave a sample sterling silver flower vase at home. I have recently started making this vase after many years and thought it would be a good idea to do some testing. This is always a good policy as it gets the product used in a real day to day environment and any minor issues can be sorted out before a customer uses it. Some years ago the same was done with one of our pepper grinders and guess what?? It did not work properly.Despite containing the best Peugeot mechanism it would not perform as it should have done. A small spacer was add... [More]

Pepper Mill refurbishment

Six of our Sterling Silver Capstan Pepper Mills recently came back for a refurbishment from a retailer in Oxford, England. They were owned by one of the local colleges. Although in surprisingly good condition, in that there were very few dents, they had some structural problems mainly surrounding the aluminium drive shafts. These were corroded which had caused three of the finials to seize on and so breaking the threads off. After a complete dissemble, three new knobs, six new spindles and a good ultrasonic clean and re-polish they looked like new again. Question: How did the aluminium spin... [More]

Communion Chalice City

A couple or was it three years ago I published a story of a damaged silver communion chalice which a Nun had brought in for repair. Quite how she found JA Campbell I cannot remember maybe a Google search for 'silversmith Essex' It was interesting in that I had said 'yes' to the repair before I had actually seen it (not very wise) Both the bowl, stem and the pedastal base had been flattened. I put it on the back of my bench to think about this for a week or so in the hope that I would come up with an idea of how I was going to do this repair. The damage had a deliberate look about it, as this... [More]